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A Song For Optimists

A Song For Optimists

The song Ekla Chalo Re, written by Rabindranath Tagore, in 1905, is still remains as popular as it was 113 years ago.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore. Image courtesy:


By Mithu Das   June 04, 2018

The song Ekla Chalo Re was written by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) during Indian freedom movement. It was recorded by Tagore himself, and as soon as it was released—between 1905 and 1908—it became very popular among freedom fighters. Mahatma Gandhi admitted that it was one of his favorite songs. It is thought that Subhas Chandra Bose, too, was deeply influenced by the song.

Surprisingly, even after 113 years, the song still remains as popular as it was in 1905. Over the last few decades it has been sung by many famous singers. Yet remix of the song sung by innumerable singers are being uploaded on YouTube every other month. And if this is not enough, Indian politicians often quote the song to criticise the Opposition!

It was an anti-partition song and mainly written for freedom fighters. Howeve, the message in the song can still be proved vital for the man and woman in the street. The song encourages people to become optimistic about life.

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English translation of Ekla Chalo Re:

If nobody responds to your call, then go alone, go alone, go alone.

If nobody speaks to you, o unlucky one, if everyone keeps silent and turns away from you, then don’t be afraid to speak your own feelings openly and loudly.

If everyone turns back, o unlucky one, if everyone turns back, if nobody looks back from their awkward journey to unpredictable destination, continue your own journey “with thorn pricked (of the path) bloodied feet”.

If no light shines and a raging storm hits in your door at midnight, then “make of yourself a light”. If nobody responds to your call, o unlucky one, then go alone, go alone, go alone.

The verses of Ekla Chalo Re in Bengali script:

"যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে॥ তবে একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো রে॥

যদি কেউ কথা না কয়, ওরে ও অভাগা,কেউ কথা না কয় যদি সবাই থাকে মুখ ফিরায়ে সবাই করে ভয়— তবে পরান খুলে ও তুই মুখ ফুটে তোর মনের কথা একলা বলো রে॥

যদি সবাই ফিরে যায়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা, যদি সবাই ফিরে যায়.. যদি গহন পথে যাবার কালে কেউ ফিরে না চায়— তবে পথের কাঁটা ও তুই রক্তমাখা চরণতলে একলা দলো রে॥

যদি আলো না ধরে, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা, যদি ঝড়-বাদলে আঁধার রাতে দুয়ার দেয় ঘরে-- তবে বজ্রানলে‌ আপন বুকের পাঁজর জ্বালিয়ে নিয়ে একলা জ্বলো রে॥ যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে॥ তবে একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো রে॥ যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে॥"
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Eminent Rabindra Sangeet singer Suchitra Mitra recorded Ekla Chalk Re twice, in 1948 and 1984. It has been sung by Kishore Kumar as well as Manna Dey. India’s most popular film actor Amitabh Bachchan sang it for a Bollywood film in 2012.

Ekla Chalo Re in Suchitra Mitra’s beautiful voice. Courtesy: YouTube.

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